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January 22 2006 ~ What legislation demands returning the inventory to DEFRA?

The sheep and goats register has caused groans on various internet forums example: and we noted in particular this comment where the writer (from the other end of the country from the first) is self-evidently a farmer who is another intelligent, responsible and benign person from whose ears smoke is starting to rise:

A search of the DEFRA website - taking both time and skill to perform - leaves one less than enlightened. Its labyrinthine website eventually reveals the following information - if one has a spare couple of hours to search. But is it relevant? And anyway, mentioning a couple of dense and unreadable EU outpourings hardly illuminates or justifies DEFRA demands.


 Page 44 42 Cross Compliance Handbook for England 2006 edition 176. Key elements As of 9 July 2005, the rules that apply for cross compliance purposes to sheep and goats were changed. They are broadly the same and are summarised below: a. Identification: All sheep and goats born before 9 July 2005 must be properly identified in accordance with EC Directive 92/102



From the DEFRA book



It says, 

        From 5 December 2005, when you order your ear tags we will allocate (give you)

ear tag numbers automatically, using our database.

• As the keeper, at the beginning of each year, you must make an inventory of all

sheep and goats on your holding.

• We are introducing a slightly revised flock or herd register for all keepers.

• Sheep and goats born after 9 July 2005 must be double-tagged for trade with

other countries in the European Union or for export to countries outside the

European Union.


It also says,


" On 9 July 2005, a new European law came into force which has introduced a new

system of identifying sheep and goats. We already have temporary permission (until

May 2006) not to follow the requirement to double-tag animals. By following the

requirements set out in this document, you can help to make sure that we do not have

to double-tag animals until 2008.


"New sheep and goat identification rules now in force", said DEFRA 



New rules to ensure we avoid 'double tagging'.

The European Union's Standing Committee on the Food Chain and Animal Health, have agreed the UK’s application for a derogation to continue with the national system of sheep identification (i.e. no double tagging) We have received a temporary derogation until April 2006.

A follow up inspection is planned in December so Commission inspectors can confirm that we have put in place certain enhancements to the current system. It is important that keepers comply in full with the national requirements as failure to do so could lead to our derogation being withdrawn. We will be sending out full guidance detailing the requirements in the autumn.

The positive outcome means that keepers will be able to continue with the current system of movement (S) and replacement (R) tags instead of having to apply double tags. Double tags will only be needed in the case of animals born after 9 July, which are intended for intra-community trade or export. There will be a few changes to the current system to reflect the new EU requirements that do not form part of the derogation. The following will be taking effect immediately:




So, after exhaustive searching, the legislation behind all this  ID of sheep and goats  would appear to be European Council Regulation (EC) 21/2004   and  EC Directive 92/102


See     ".....As a result of new EU rules (Council Regulation (EC) 21/2004), we are changing the way we record sheep and goat holdings, and the rules on reporting movement. The National Sheep Association, the National Farmers’ Union and the Meat and Livestock Commission participated in the design of the new rules. You must start complying with the requirements laid down in this letter with immediate effect. You may consider your holding to be all the land where you keep sheep and/or goats. However, this is no longer the case. You will not need to report movements if the land you are moving animals between is under your sole management and control and is within 5 miles (8km) of your main site. Please see Annex A for full details of the new requirements. Defining your main site Your main site is where the main buildings and livestock facilities are, together with all adjoining fields. If your fields are separated from your farm by a road, stream or boundary (ie a hedge or fence), then these fields are considered part of your main site. Effectively, your holding will become your main site, plus any outlying parcels of land wholly or partially within 5 miles. Please see Diagram 1, attached. Any land outside the 5 mile zone is still yours, but is a separate holding..."


But when even DEFRA's helpline officials are unable to interpret letters sent out, it is evident that efficient explanations are not on offer. None of this inspires confidence. None of this encourages anyone to want to cooperate. It might inspire confidence if information sent to stockholders expressed in clear English why certain regulations were deemed important for everyone. Above all, if the advice given to government and thus passed on to farmers was self-evidently based on a sound understanding of farming and animal husbandry.